Mayor Addresses Police Incident, Contingency Plan

"We are listening"

Tom Puckett
June 05, 2020 - 6:50 pm
June 5th Protest

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown addresseed a number of issues Friday afternoon stemming from a caught on video incident where an officer shoved a protester in front of Buffalo City Hall. Two officers were suspended.

"Our residents in every section in the city of Buffalo will be protected," says Brown. "I want people out in our community peacefully protesting to know everyone who is peacefully protesting will be protected." Brown says their voices will be heard. "We will work with them for real change on issues like police brutality, racial injustice, and as they exercise their freedom of speech rights, those rights will be protected," adds Brown.

Brown says when Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood saw video of the officers shoving Martin Gugino, an immediate internal investigation was started, and Lockwood immediately suspended the officers without pay. "I am not calling for the officres to be fired. I want the investigation to be conducted. I don't want to jump ahead of the investigation. It is very important for officers to know they are getting due process," says Brown.

Brown says there is a contingency plan in place for this weekend. "I thank Commissioner Lockwood and his management team, working with law enforcement partners. I thank Governor Cuomo for bringing in a large contingent of State Police, embedded with Buffalo Police.



Lockwood statement

Earlier, the Buffalo Police Emergency Response Team's 57 members resigned in support of the suspended officers. Lockwood noted the officers are still members of the police force, calling the ERT a voluntary assignment.

As for initial reports Gugino merely fell and tripped, Brown says there was a communcation error and he will be ther first to admit that.

DeGeorge Statement


Brown says when curfew is closing in, police give protesters several warnings, and then police move in when the curfew arrives.  Brown says Gugino was asked to leave several times by police.

"He was in the area after the curfew. One of the things that happened before was conflict among protesters and there was a danger of fights breaking out, and police felt it was important to clear that scene for the safety of protesters," notes Brown. Brown says the situation was volatile, there is a potential for people getting injured. "The instructions from police management was be careful, protect our residents and peaceful protesters and use common sense," adds Brown. The curfew will remain in effect from 8pm to 5am until Monday morning.

Brown says the Buffalo Police will not be disbanded as some protesters have suggested. "That is a ridiculous idea," says Brown. 

In our original reporting on the Mayor's press briefing Friday, WBEN erroneously reported the Mayor referenced Gugino as an 'agitator'.  The Mayor was referencing a separate incident on Bailey Avenue that involved New York State Police when he made that comment.  Gugino is described as a Buffalo area peace protester.


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